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Safe storage of meds can help prevent unintentional poisonings among kids, experts say

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Washington — Every nine minutes, a child 6 years old or younger is taken to the emergency room because of an unintentional medicine-related poisoning – and one child dies every 12 days – according to a recent report from Safe Kids Worldwide.

Researchers surveyed 2,000 parents of children 6 and younger about the way they store medications in the home. Although 9 out of 10 parents agree it’s important to store medicine up and away from children, 7 out of 10 said they store it within sight of the child.

Other findings:

  • In about 50 percent of over-the-counter medication poisoning cases, children climbed on chairs, toys or other options to access the medicine.
  • Child-resistant packaging was ineffective in denying children access to the medication in about half of the cases.
  • Every hour, a young child is hospitalized as the result of poisoning from medication.
  • Parents younger than 24, as well as fathers and parents living in urban and suburban areas, were more likely to report engaging in unsafe medicine storage behaviors.

“Kids are curious and will explore and taste everything they discover,” Safe Kids President Torine Creppy said in a March 15 press release. “That’s why it’s so important for parents to practice safe medicine storage from Day One.”

Safe Kids recommends that parents store all medicine out of children’s reach and sight, and put medicine away immediately after every use, even if you might take it again hours later. Keep visitors’ belongings out of reach in case they contain medicine. Be prepared to call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 in case of an emergency.

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